[JURIST] The United Nations has a "moral duty to act on the lessons of Rwanda," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] said Monday in an address [text] to mark the fourteenth anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; BBC backgrounder]. Ban said:
I am equally determined to work for human rights everywhere - to uphold them, protect them, defend them, ensure that they are a living reality. This year, to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations is pursuing a global awareness campaign to ensure that human rights are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. It is often those who most need their rights protected, who also need to be informed that the declaration exists - and that it exists for them.Also Monday, rights groups African Rights and REDRESS [advocacy websites] urged European governments to fully investigate and facilitate the prosecutions [press release, PDF] of Rwandan genocide suspects within their jurisdictions.
In all these endeavours, each one of us has a role to play: Governments, the media, civil society and individuals. May the searing memory of the genocide in Rwanda always spur us on in our mission.
The Rwandan genocide claimed some 800,000 lives. The mandate for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] is set to expire in December 2008, and the ICTR has announced that it will be unable to complete its work [JURIST report] before that time. AP has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.